Happy Anthesteria 2020 (699.3)

Montsechia vidalii. (2017, March 18). Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved 23:24, February 5, 2020. Cropped photo. This is one of the world’s oldest flowering plant fossils.

Changes

There is no snow this Anthesteria,
no struggling walk in half-darkness,
only the old decay of late-fall leaves,
flocks of black birds fleeing skyward,
the air too sticky, the grass yet greening.

There is no snow this Anthesteria.
The ground is not even frozen,
perhaps warm enough to bury fresh dead,
the heat fed by ceaseless fire,
the black underworld lakes drunk up so fast.

There is no snow this Anthesteria.
The black lakes have known no flowers,
no trembling dawn dew weighing petals down,
no young goddess reaching to pluck,
no garlands, no swings, no vines heavy-weighed.

There is no snow this Anthesteria,
no happy chaos of Khoes,
wine-casks long open, ghosts forgotten.
Word remain, ripe for the speaking,
and the gorge-flowering mountains are near.


Fun fact: Flowering plants evolved between about 180 and 130 million years ago, and they comprise only a minority of the solid materials in crude oil today.

This Year’s Anthesteria

I celebrated Pithoigia last night by opening a bottle of Malbec. Drinking is not something I do often — just religiously at Anthesteria, sporadically on my birthday, and every once in a while when a cider looks really interesting. My habit is to not drink alone.

Buying the Malbec this weekend was an interesting experience. My modus operandi is to purchase a 12 oz bottle at the last minute in town. I was on top of things this year, which meant I walked into the enormous store next to the ALDI while out doing normal grocery shopping. People put so much effort into the bottle labels, as if they are prized things vying for the Apple of Discord, and even more love into the web sites that lure people with the lushness of grapevines in summer and the exactness of the winemaking process.

For the Anthesteria this year, I’m doing a Twitter break, and that’s going well. Last night, before and after praying, I read a bit of Damascius’ Phaedo commentary — the part at the beginning, primarily, because it was related to Dionysos — before pressing onward in the essays on the Republic by Proclus.

Today, I went home early because I have a fever of 101°F and chest congestion (and I doubt I’m going in tomorrow), so my holiday will look very different from the usual — probably more offerings tomorrow late in the day instead of tonight depending on how I feel. (In the past, it often snowed on Anthesteria so much that work was canceled; maybe this is a sign that I should just preemptively take days off in the future.) The shrines are covered for Khoes and Khytroi.

🍷

Hail, Dionysos. 🪔 Io evohé!

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